Kingston puts the sparkle into Christmas

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By whitelc | Monday, November 19, 2012, 10:42

Kingston was first to let the magic happen when thousands of smiling faces enjoyed the big switch-on of the Town Centre's Christmas Lights yesterday evening.

There were loud cheers and gasps of wonder as Cinderella, star of the Rose Theatre's festive production, joined Santa and Mayor of Kingston Councillor Mary Heathcote OBE to provide a sparkling start to Kingston's festive celebrations.

The switch-on ceremony, which took place from the Radio Jackie Stage in Clarence Street, was the culmination of an afternoon of entertainment, attractions and fun for all the family organised by Kingstonfirst, the placemaking organisation for the Town Centre.

There was festive music in the Town Centre throughout the afternoon, which also featured street entertainers, performances by local choirs and bands in Eden Walk Shopping Centre, Market Place and Clarence Street and even ice sculpting and real reindeer in Memorial Gardens.

The afternoon also marked the opening of the ever-popular Eden Craft Fair in the grounds of All Saints Parish Church, an opportunity to sample some tasty treats at the traditional Tudor Market and the launch of this year's Christmas Bears – Barney, Amber and Daisy – who were singing and dancing in the Bentall Centre.

Ros Morgan, chief executive for Kingstonfirst, said: "It was wonderful to once again see so many smiling faces in the crowd for the Big Switch On.

"The range of entertainment and the chance to see the Lights Switch On is always incredibly popular and the crowds at 6pm appeared to be even bigger than last year, stretching all the way along Clarence Street.

"There was a real festive atmosphere and we would like to thank everyone for attending the event, as well as everyone involved in making it happen including the countless volunteers and helpers without whom it would have been possible."

Christmas activity continues every day in the run-up to Christmas with Town Centre retailers offering late-night shopping every day in December.

Visitors can beat the crowds by taking advantage of Kingston's hugely popular park and ride service on the evening – and every day until January 5. Park for free at Chessington World of Adventures South Explorer Car Park and buses leave every 10 minutes between 7.30am to 7pm, with a half hourly service up to 9pm. A return fare is £2.30, while U16s go free.

The Christmas Lights Switch-On was just one of the festive events being delivered by Kingstonfirst this Christmas – for more details visit www.kingstonfirst.co.uk

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